Travel Dates: July 5 to July 15, 2017
On June 5th, President Trump embarked on his second trip to Europe as President. He visited Warsaw, Poland on the first day to give a speech as well as speak to leaders from Poland and the Baltics. Following his stop in Poland, President Trump traveled to Hamburg, Germany for the G20 Meeting. He attended meetings and summits, and he met personally with many delegations, including a private (and lengthy) conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. After some days back home, President Trump traveled to Paris for Bastille Day.
President Trump started off on the wrong foot with his expedition in Warsaw. He was greeted by huge crowds, which were a crucial part of the travel negotiations, and gave a speech about America’s views towards Europe. This speech was confusing and diverged from many ideas President Trump had established previously. His tendencies towards populism and right-wing nationalism were embraced by a like-minded government, and contained worrying language about the role of the United States in Eastern Europe.
The trip got worse as President Trump then flew to Hamburg, Germany, where he attended the G20 meeting. Much like the G7 summit earlier this year, Trump embarrassed the United States on one of the largest geopolitical stages. The United States was the only nation that refused to sign a communique about the dangers of climate change. President Trump’s stance, which is staunchly anti-environment, drew criticism as other major powers took the leadership role on global warming. The President also had a lengthy meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among other things, the two leaders discussed the Russian hacking of the 2016 Presidential election, yet both parties left with different and muddled statements on the conversation. His little gaffes also dominated the news media, such as his “apolitical” daughter Ivanka Trump sitting in for him during the G20 meeting.
And in Paris, President Trump was treated to his favorite thing: large crowds. While this addition to the trip was largely uneventful, the President made a mysterious claim about a possible reversal on the Paris Climate Agreement. Although he may change his views for the better in this instance, this trend of “persuasion by flattery” is worrisome to the credibility and veracity of any future policy position.
This trip is yet another example of the United States ceding credibility and leadership throughout the globe. Shortly after meeting with President Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the world that America is no longer a reliable partner. Despite his best efforts to convince President Trump, even French President Emmanuel Macron said that the United States must be left behind. These statements are atypical descriptions of American leaders, regardless of party, and they should worry everyone. Not only is this dangerous for national security, but a decreased presence among leading countries will only give up American power and influence. With this trip, President Trump proved once again that his ignorance of global affairs harms our nation’s prestige, and more importantly, its citizens.